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HQ 958713

May 6, 1996

CLA-2 RR:TC:TE 958713 CAB


TARIFF NOS: 6205.20.2050; 6110.30.3045; 6104.63.2010

Mr. Michael TSE
L and L Import & Export Pty. Ltd.
38 Glenda Street
Doncaster, Victoria 3108

RE: Classification of sweat garments and flannel shirt; Headings 6205, 6104, 6110; Country of origin determination pursuant to Section 12.130, Customs Regulations; Section 102.21, Customs Regulations

Dear Mr. TSE:

This is in response to your inquiry of November 13, 1995, requesting a country of origin determination for a shirt and track suit. Samples were submitted for examination. The country of origin determination will be made pursuant to Section 12.130, Customs Regulations, presently in effect, and pursuant to Section 102.21, Customs Regulation, the general rules to determine country of origin as of July 1, 1996.


There are several garments at issue. One garment at issue is a men's 100 percent woven cotton flannel shirt. The shirt contains long sleeves, two front panels, one back panel, plackets, and cuffs. Another garment at issue is a pair of knit trousers with an elasticized waist, fitted ankles, and a vertical insert of knitted print fabric extending down each leg. The final garment at issue is a knitted pullover sweat shirt type garment. You describe the sweat shirt and trousers as a track suit. Both the sweat shirt and trousers are constructed of 65 percent polyester/35 percent knitted cotton fabric. You describe the sweat shirt and pants as unisex.

The manufacturing for the pants and sweat shirt are as follows: Fabric knit in Australia is exported to China to be cut into garment pieces and fully assembled into finished garments; The garments are then exported to the United States. The manufacturing process for the flannel shirt
is as follows. Fabric woven in China is exported to Australia to be cut into garment pieces; The garment pieces are then sent to China for final assembly into a finished product.


What is the tariff classification for the subject merchandise?

What is the country of origin of the subject merchandise?



Classification of goods under the HTSUSA is governed by the General Rules of Interpretation (GRI's). GRI 1 provides that classification shall be determined according to the terms of the headings and any relative section or chapter notes. Merchandise that cannot be classified in accordance with GRI 1 is to be classified in accordance with subsequent GRI's taken in order.

Heading 6205, HTSUSA, provides for men's shirts. As the instant flannel shirt is a men's garment that fits squarely within this provision, it is classifiable under Heading 6205, HTSUSA.
Heading 6110, HTSUSA, provides for sweaters, pullovers, sweatshirts, waistcoats (vests) and similar articles, knitted or crocheted. The upper body garment referred to by you as part of a track suit is a pullover sweatshirt. The Explanatory Notes to the Harmonized Commodity Description and Coding System (EN), although not legally binding, are the official interpretation of the tariff at the international level. The EN to Heading 6112, HTSUSA, provides the description of garments classifiable as track suits in the tariff. The EN states the following:

Track suits consists of two garments, namely:

- A garment meant to cover the upper part of the body down to or slightly below the waist. It has long sleeves, with ribbed or elasticated bands, zip fasteners or other tightening elements at the cuffs. Similar tightening elements, including drawstrings, are generally to be found at the bottom of this garment. When it has a partial or complete opening at the front, it is generally fastened by means of a slide fastener (zipper). It may or may not be fitted with a hood, a collar and pockets.

- A second garment (a pair of trousers) which may be either close or loose fitting, with or without pockets, with an elasticated waistband, drawstring or other means of tightening at the waist, with no opening at the waist and therefore no buttons or other fastening system. However, such trousers may be fitted with ribbed or elasticated bands, slide fasteners
(zippers) or other tightening elements at the bottom of the trouser-legs which generally go down to ankle level. They may or may not have footstraps.

When examining the instant pullover garment, it is clear that it does not meet the description requirements for upper body garments that are classifiable as track suits in the tariff. Thus, it is classifiable under Heading 6110, HTSUSA. Heading 6104, HTSUSA, provides for inter alia, women's trousers. Despite your contention that the sweat pants at issue are part of a track suit, the sweat pants are in essence pants or trousers. Therefore, the sweat pants at issue are provided for under Heading 6104, HTSUSA. Since the sweat pants and pullover have been constructed and designated as unisex garments, the nomenclature dictates that where garments cannot be identified as either men's or boys' garments or as women's or girls', they are to be classified in the heading covering women's or girls' garments. See, Note 9, Chapter 61, HTSUSA.


Country of origin determinations for textile products are subject to Section 12.130, Customs Regulations (19 CFR 12.130). Section 12.130 provides that a textile product that is processed in more than one country or territory shall be a product of that country or territory where it last underwent a substantial transformation. A textile product will be considered to have undergone a substantial transformation if it has been transformed by means of subsequent manufacturing or processing operations into a new and different article of commerce.

Section 12.130(d), Customs Regulations, sets forth criteria for determining whether a substantial transformation of a textile product has taken place. This regulation states these criteria are not exhaustive; one or any combination of criteria may be determinative, and additional factors may be considered.

Section 12.130(d)(1), Customs Regulations, states that a new and different article of commerce will usually result from a manufacturing or processing operation if there is a change in:

(i) Commercial designation or identity, (ii) Fundamental character or (iii) Commercial use.
Section 12.130(d)(2), Customs Regulations, states that for determining whether merchandise has been subjected to substantial manufacturing or processing operations, the following will be considered:

(i) The physical change in the material or article;

(ii) The time involved in the manufacturing or processing operation;

(iii) The complexity of the manufacturing or processing operation;

(iv) The level or degree of skill and/or technology in the manufacturing or processing operations; and

(v) The value added to the article or material.

Section 12.130(e)(1), Customs Regulations, describes manufacturing or processing operations from which an article will usually be considered a product of the country in which those operations occurred. Section 12.130(e)(1)(iv), Customs Regulations, specifically provides that the cutting of fabric into parts and the assembly of those parts into the completed article will be a manufacturing operation that will usually result in an article being considered a product of the country in which those operations occurred. Section 12.130(e)(1)(v), Customs Regulations states that an article will be a product of a particular foreign country, when it has undergone prior to importation in the U.S. in that foreign country:

Substantial assembly by sewing and/or tailoring of all cut pieces of apparel articles which have been cut from fabric in another foreign territory or country, or insular possession, into a completed garment (e.g., the complete assembly of all cut pieces of suit-type jackets, suits and shirts).

According to T.D. 85-38, the final document rule establishing 19 CFR 12.130:

The assembly of all the cut pieces of a garment usually is a substantial manufacturing process that results in an article with a different name, character, or use than the cut pieces. It should be noted that not all assembly operations of cut garment pieces will amount to a substantial transformation of those pieces. Where either less than a complete assembly of all the cut pieces of a garment is performed in one country, or the assembly is a relatively simple one, then Customs will rule on the particular factual situation as they arise, utilizing the criteria in Section 12.130(d).

Customs has consistently determined that cutting fabric into garment pieces constitutes a substantial transformation of the fabric and the clothing pieces become products of the country where the fabric is cut. (See e.g., Headquarters Ruling Letter (HRL) 952531, dated November 25, 1992, and HRL 089539, dated April 22, 1992).

Customs has also long held that the mere assembly of goods entailing simple combining operations, trimming or joining together by sewing is not enough to substantially transform the components of an article into a new and different article of commerce. (See e.g., HRL 082787, dated March 9, 1989, and HRL 082747, dated February 23, 1989).

Section 12.130(e)(1)(v) provides that there must be substantial assembly by sewing or tailoring of a suit-type garment for substantial transformation to occur. Customs has ruled in prior cases that garments such as the subject garment that undergo a complex assembly process are subject to their last substantial transformation in the country where the complex assembly process took place. (See e.g., HRL 956797, dated November 10, 1994, where Customs determined that the country of origin of a flannel shirt almost identical to the subject shirt was the country where the shirt was assembled; See also, HRL 953641, dated August 19, 1993, which addressed the country of origin of a men's sport shirt.)

HRL 953638, dated August 19, 1993, stated the following in pertinent part:

To determine whether origin is conferred when an article is transformed from its numerous constituent parts to what is eventually recognized as the completed garment, i.e., a shirt, one must first define "substantial assembly". Substantial assembly can be defined as that operation, whether by sewing or tailoring, when all the components of the garment are attached together to form that completed shirt.

In the instant case, sewing the individual components of the shirt together, particularly the long sleeves, collar, cuffs, yoke and plackets, to form the completed skirt is a complex assembly operation. This assembly process is more than the simple assembly process cited in Section 12.130(e)(2)(i), (e.g., "simple combining operations..."). The assembly operation performed in this case in accordance with Section 12.130(e)(1)(v), Customs Regulations, amounts to a substantial assembly which confers country of origin. The country of origin of the flannel shirt is China, the country where the shirt was assembled.

The pants and pullover garments at issue are made of fabric knitted in Australia. The fabric is exported to China where it is cut into garments pieces and sewn and fully assembled into finished garments. It has been a long held Customs position that cutting fabric into garment pieces is a substantial manufacturing operation that results in a substantial transformation. In this case, the last substantial transformation occurs in the country where the pants and pullover are cut and sewn, China.


The flannel shirt is classifiable in subheading 6205.20.2050, HTSUSA, which provides for men's other cotton shirts. The applicable rate of duty is 20.7 percent ad valorem and the textile restraint category is 340. The pants are classifiable in subheading 6104.63.2010, HTSUSA, which provides for women's knitted trousers of synthetic fibers. The applicable rate of duty is 29.6 percent ad valorem and the textile restraint category is 648. The pullover garment is classifiable in subheading 6110.30.3045, HTSUSA, which provides women's sweatshirts of man-made fibers. The applicable rate of duty is 33.8 percent ad valorem and the textile restraint category is 639.

The country of origin of the pants, pullover, and flannel shirt is China.

You should be aware that on December 8, 1994, the President signed into law the Uruguay Round Agreements Act. Section 334 of that Act provides new rules of origin for textile and apparel entered, or withdrawn from warehouse, for consumption, on and after July 1, 1996. On September 5, 1995, Customs published Section 102.21, Customs Regulations, in the Federal Register, implementing Sect. 334 (60 FR 46188). Section 334 generally provides, with certain exceptions, that the origin of textile goods will be the country in which they are assembled. The
subject articles are not within the products excepted from the assembly rule. Accordingly, based on the facts stated above, effective July 1, 1996, the country of origin of the subject garments remains China.


John Durant, Director
Tariff Classification Appeals

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